NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – April 23, 2024

by | Apr 23, 2024 | News, NHL | 22 comments

The Oilers and Golden Knights win the opening games of their first-round series, the Hurricanes rally back to beat the Islanders and the Leafs even their series with the Bruins. Details and more in today’s NHL Morning Coffee Headlines.


NHL.COM: Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid collected five assists in a 7-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of their best-of-seven opening-round series with the Los Angeles Kings. Zach Hyman had a hat trick and an assist and Evan Bouchard had four helpers for the Oilers. Adrian Kempe had a goal and an assist for the Kings. Game 2 goes on Wednesday at 10 pm ET in Edmonton.

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Oilers took a 4-0 lead and never looked back. The Kings cut the lead in half by the end of the second period but third-period power-play goals by Leon Draisaitl and Hyman put this out of reach.

McDavid became the eighth player in NHL history to pick up five assists in a playoff game. The record is six held by Mikko Leinonen (1982) and Wayne Gretzky (1987).

The Carolina Hurricanes overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat the New York Islanders 5-3, taking a 2-0 lead in their first-round series. Sebastian Aho and Jordan Martinook scored nine seconds apart in the third period with the tying and winning goals and Seth Jarvis had a goal and two assists for the Hurricanes. Semyon Varlamov made 34 saves for the Islanders. The series heads to UBS Center in Belmont Park for Games 3 and 4 with the third game on Thursday at 7:30 PM ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders played well in the first period. However, the momentum shifted in the Hurricanes’ favor in the second period after Teuvo Teravainen’s power-play goal got them on the board. This loss cannot be hung on Varlamov as he did all he could to help his team hang onto their lead. The Isles managed just one shot in the third period while the Hurricanes peppered Varlamov with 17.

Carolina goaltender Frederik Andersen was the hero in his club’s Game 1 victory. He was shaky in this one, giving up three goals on 12 shots. Hurricanes defenseman Brett Pesce left the game with a lower-body injury. There was no word regarding his status for Game 3.

Islanders forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau returned to action after missing Game 1 with a lower-body injury.

Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews scored the game-winner and had two assists in a 3-2 win over the Boston Bruins, tying their first-round series at a game apiece. Max Domi had a goal and an assist and Ilya Samsonov stopped 27 shots for the Leafs. Morgan Geekie and David Pastrnak scored for the Bruins and Linus Ullmark made 30 saves. This series shifts to Toronto for Games 3 and 4 starting Wednesday at 7 pm ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A much better effort for the Leafs compared to their debacle in Game 1. Matthews answered his critics as his teammates rallied from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits. Leafs winger William Nylander remains sidelined with an undisclosed injury.

Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery praised Ullmark’s performance, citing several big saves he made during this contest. He blamed the loss on his club’s lack of production.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights defeated the Dallas Stars 4-3 to take Game 1 of their first-round series. Mark Stone opened the scoring in his first game since Feb. 20 and teammates Jonathan Marchessault and Tomas Hertl netted their first goals of this postseason. Joel Oettinger gave up four goals on 15 shots while Jamie Benn, Jason Robertson and Mason Marchment scored for the Stars. Game 2 is on Wednesday at 9:30 PM ET.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Stars spent this game chasing the Golden Knights but ran out of time to get the equalizer. It’s a trend that’s carried over from the regular season. Half of their total wins came after falling behind early. The Golden Knights special teams made the difference, going two-for-two on the power play while killing off both of the Stars’ power-play advantages.


BUFFALO HOCKEY NOW: The Sabres announced yesterday that Lindy Ruff will become their next head coach. Ruff previously coached the club from 1997-98 to 2012-13, guiding them to the 1999 Stanley Cup Final.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a nostalgia hire by the Sabres. General manager Kevyn Adams said he was looking for a new coach with NHL experience. Few are more experienced than Ruff. He’s fifth all-time in wins with 864 and 1,775 games coached with the Sabres, Stars and New Jersey Devils. Ruff won the Jack Adams Award in 2006 and was a finalist for the award in 2007 and 2023.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Despite Alexandar Georgiev’s poor performance against the Winnipeg Jets in Game 1, the Avalanche starter could get the nod in Game 2. Backup Justus Annunen is battling an illness. Third-stringer Arvid Holm could back up Georgiev if Annunen can’t play tonight.

DAILY FACEOFF: Washington Capitals defenseman Vincent Iorio is listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury suffered against the New York Rangers in Game 1 of their opening-round series on Sunday.

THE SEATTLE TIMES: Kraken general manager Ron Francis said he intends to open contract talks with Matty Beniers and Eeli Tolvanen soon. Both are restricted free agents on July 1. Beniers is completing his entry-level contract while Tolvanen has arbitration rights.


  1. I love that stone opened the scoring! That’s spectacular.

    • it’s a Festivus Miracle!

      • Or maybe he dipped his toes in the Fountain At Lourdes.

  2. Some Great Games last night…

    Early game Leafs & Bruins game was a gun & run affair end to end, Both Goaltenders made some Fantastic save’s for there teams
    Mathews goal was Amazing at Top Speed….⁉️

    Main event The Oilers & Kings
    was also a great game…. It was nice to see the Oilers forwards help out the Oilers d for the first half of the game…😲
    97 was on fire tonight continuing his Assist thing this season with 5 tonight

    Really a Cheap late hit from the kings T.Moore tonight on Viny Desharnais😳

    Nurse & Ceci on for a couple of Goals late in the 3rd, it was mediocre performances from these two yet again tonight..

    • Agree

      Moore’s hit was a very cheap shot

      Bend very low so that full impact is lateral at knee while Desharnais almost standing full


      • I don’t know if it was a cheap shot. Don’t think so… here’s why…

        Moore is 5’10… Desharnais 6’6”… I think he was after a clean hit, but the timing was off, and the “hit” went awry, and he clipped only his leg.

        It happens. It’s hockey.

        Moore got 2-minutes and it was at a time of the game when the Kings were closing in… was 4-2… ending of the period and certainly did not need a momentum killer.

        If it was late, no momentum, and game out of reach… even then I’d say just a hockey play that went badly.

      • Hi Zimmer

        Sorry but have to fully disagree

        Your height numbers back up my rationale (and that’s beside what it [to me] clearly looked like)

        The 9” difference in height means the smaller player does not need to lower himself to give a hip check

        Moore scrunched down and full impact was laterally on the knees

        Truly a “low blow” in my honest opinion

        However, nothing will come of this as it’s playoffs and infraction has to be akin to attempted murder for Paros to delve out punishment

        I’m a Pend fan si no vested interest

        Had Deharnais been a Pen (alas but a dream at bottom pairing for Pens) then I’d be personally phoning Paros

      • Give it up Pengy … this one-sided vision every time one of the players on one of your favourite teams is on the receiving end of a hockey hit is getting tiresome.

        Chara faced the same sort of idiotic criticism – a big man making contact with a much smaller one should not have to do something that no one else of equal size with the contacted player in order to change his stance or approach in playing the game.

        Yes there is room in all contact professional sports for the smaller individual … but they they should have no added advantage because of their size.

      • “no added DISadvantage …”

    • Looking forward to the Oilers forwards abandoning their D.

      Kings D left a lot of open space down low. Thought I was watching the SEL.

  3. Ullmark wasn’t the reason why the Bruins lost game #2 but Sway needed to be the goalie starting last night … Monty is trying to appease both goalies but it’s the playoffs not regular season ride the goalie in the playoffs when he plays well and wins …B’s lose in 1st rd this year it will probably cost Monty his job

    • Hey Joe
      i think Ullmark played Great last night,
      and playing Swayman would not have made a difference… it was fast and furious game last night nobody could have stoped Mathews on that breakaway.

      Bostons weak area is in there top 6.. Scoring
      at the Centre position, im sure they address this on July 1st….❓

      • Agree williew, not Monty’s fault the B’s have fewer good players. Ullmark was excellent, both tenders were.

        B’s need to get it going 5 on 5. They’re defending OK, but need to start generating more quality chances. Sooner or later the Leafs will stop taking stupid penalties.

        The good news – Next chance comes Weds. Go B’s!

      • Agree with you williew,the Bruins have been carried by their goalies all year! Their lack of not enough top 6 forwards could cost them the series!Marchand needs to start scoring!Tell Mcavoy to let the game come to him! He s trying to force the issue too much! Got schooled by Matthews on the winning goal!

    • McAvoy had a bad game last night. His positioning on Matthews wasn’t good. He made bad passes and decision. First game he was excellent.

      I think losing Peeke in the second period impacted McAvoy game. Hopefully Peeke is back for game 3.

      I trash on Matt Grzelcyk all the time, that he isn’t a playoff player, scared to get hit and moves out of the or just pokes at the puck. He has been very good in the first two games. Taking hits and dishing them out. Hopefully he continue with this play.

    • Joe the difference in goalies is indistinguishable and having that luxury allows a coach to make sure the fate of the team isn’t on only one guy.
      Look, as smart as we might be a guy like Montgomery makes us look infantile.

      Both these teams look bad or have long stretches where they don’t know a game is on. Those Florida teams are dying to meet one of these two I bet.

  4. It was a good – and very necessary – response by a Leafs team to a sorry opening effort, especially Samsonov.

    Now they have that one win needed in Boston in order to win the series in 6.

    The Edmonton-L.A. game resembled, in many ways, the shinny match in Winnipeg, something witnessed frequently over the years when playoffs kick off.

    Look for a much tighter style in game 2.

    • Ya George, the Oil jumped out to a big lead, took foot off the gas a bit.

      They wanted a good start, and got one. They dominated the first period, and not by a little. Was pretty impressive actually.

      LA will be better because they have to be. Too many quality vets to let that happen again.

      • RB, the Islanders jumped out to a big lead and took their foot off the gas a bit, also. Oops!

  5. Gored1970, 2 one-goal losses (not counting empty-netters) against one of THE top teams in the playoffs – and in their barn – is pretty impressive for a team with the second-lowest goals-for among playoff teams (only Washington had less).

    But 12 shots on goal in game 2 isn’t going to get it done against Carolina.

    Varlamov has been their best player in both games, with a 0.920 save % in game 1 and close of 0.900 % last night (0.895).

    Andersen, who was 0.971 in game 1, dropped to 0.750 last night by giving up 3 goals on 12 shots TOTAL. He probably fell asleep at the start of the game.

    • Shots attempted yesterday: 110 – 28 for the Hurricanes. Reportedly a record for differential since it was tracked beginning in 2007.

      • …record PLAYOFF differential….